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Dirty Sexy Money: "The Game"

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This episode is called "The Game." Its title comes from a high-stakes poker game that, we're told has been going for 40 years and costs $20 million dollars simply to get in. With that set-up, you'd think the pay off would have been better and yet the game at the center of "The Game" felt weirdly low-key. And the twists accompanying the game felt pretty obvious. Nick's a bright guy and he's not going to take anything Simon Elder says at face value.

I did like that this allowed for some nice Nick/Tripp bonding. As the only three-dimensional characters on the show, theirs is definitely the most interesting relationship. The rest of the show, and this episode in particular, features two-dimensional characters struggling to find that third dimension. Patrick is still tortured by with his off-limits relationship with Carmelita and has apparently decided that he can't part with the one thing in life that makes him whole. Jeremy wants to become a real boy by doing an honest days work. Karen wants to commit herself to one man for once, even if that man's not her first choice. Brian is forcing himself to be a dad. (Whatever Juliet was up to happened mostly off screen this week.)

It might be a matter of personal taste, but I'll take all that character development over the soap opera-stuff any day. It was fun seeing Jeremy, Patrick, and Brian behaving like brothers together but the twists and turns of the plot seem awfully familiar. The show's not trying to break any molds, just fill one creatively. That's what makes it at once sturdy and frustrating. Is anyone else's interest waning as fast as mine?

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

- That was the most strongly implied blow job I've ever seen on network television, much less the most strongly implied blow job involving a transsexual.

- Karen's rapping fiancé: Shudder.

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